The Biblical Prophet Baruch lived in Jerusalem prior to its siege in 587 BC. Baruch was the scribe and devoted friend of the Prophet Jeremiah. Baruch wrote down the first scroll of prophesies about the defeat of the Babylonians that were dictated to him by Jeremiah in prison (Jeremiah 36: 4). A year later, in 604, when “a time of fasting before the Lord was proclaimed”, Baruch read the scroll to all people in the temple and later to royal officials (Jeremiah 36: 11–18). When the scroll was read out to king Jehoiakim, he threw it into a firepot. Baruch and Jeremiah managed to hide from the king’s anger; then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah to dictate a new scroll to Baruch, containing prophesies of the coming end of the Kingdom of Judah (Jeremiah 36: 32). After having written the first scroll, Jeremiah prophesied that Baruch would survive the war but the people of Judah would be doomed (Jeremiah 45). Baruch lived through the destruction of Jerusalem; he and Jeremiah were freed by the Babylonians and allowed to stay in Jerusalem. Baruch and Jeremiah kept communicating with each other even after the destruction of Jerusalem. Jeremiah and Baruch fled to Egypt and settled in Tahpanhes with other refugees (Jeremiah 43: 1–7). After Jeremiah’s death Baruch didn’t live long and died in Egypt in the 4th century BC.
The book of Baruch consists of five chapters in which he says that all evils – the Babylonian exile and the destruction of Jerusalem – were sent by the Lord for the sins of Hebrews and the need for penance. The Prophet Baruch predicted the coming of the Son of God, his prophesy begins with the following words: “This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of him” (Baruch 3: 36–38).
The Prophet Baruch is traditionally depicted as an old man in a blue chiton, an ochrous himation, wearing sandals, and holding a scroll in his hands. In iconography Baruch is represented in the prophets’ row of iconostases, such as at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the St. Therapont Monastery (1502, Dionysius, Kirillo-Belozersk Museum).
The Prophet Baruch is commemorated on October 11th (September 28, the old style).
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
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